The impact of content organizers and instructional objectives on learner performance in a Web-based environment
Hisae Nishikura, Arizona State University, United States
Arizona State University . Awarded
Web-based instructional environments utilizing hypertext links require the learner to make varying degrees of navigational choices as they negotiate the content. A non-linear approach to instruction places decision-making responsibility on the learner to construct and relate the newly introduced knowledge in a way that enables mastery and retention. It is hypothesized that web-based course design addressing cognitive schema and structural knowledge is essential to enabling the learner to benefit from the instructional environment.
This study examined the impact of hypertext-based content organizers and the presentation of instructional objectives on learner performance measured by tests of factual concepts and factual relationships. Web-based instructional environments were presented to fifty-eight students, varying across two levels of hypertext-based content organizer (index-based organizers and visual syllabus-based organizers) and two levels of presentation of instructional goals and objectives (no objectives and specific objectives).
A 2 x 2 factorial model and with cross validation was employed. Parametric assumptions met requirements of homogeneity of variance and normality of distributions among the groups. Two main effects and one significant interaction emerged. The presence of specific goals accounted for the recall of factual concepts (p = .003) and recall of factual relations (p = .009).
Interaction between the type of content organizers and types of goal setting was observed (p = .011). The index-based organizer group outperformed the visual syllabus-based organizer group when specific goals were applied. The results of this study support and extend the findings of previous research centered on traditional non-computer-based learning environments.
Nishikura, H. The impact of content organizers and instructional objectives on learner performance in a Web-based environment. Ph.D. thesis, Arizona State University.
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